When he won his Giller Award, the wondrous Saint Lucia poet and playwright Derek Walcott couldn’t make it, so pal Michael Ondaatje stood in his place, and read Love After Love (1976), the most beautiful poem I had ever heard. It remains a haunting and promise. I learned it “by heart” as the saying goes, and finally made this movie, which is only a way of keeping it with me as memento and keepsake. Using subtle repeats and rest stops for reflection, the poem’s 15 lines are a narration of self-care, an invitation to do the deep dig of meeting that most unwanted of all visitors.
The film is framed by a writer/stand-in who is in search, waiting in the pause between faces. Her writing brings her to a temporary oasis where she can reboot and refresh, invite her many personalities to arrive, and allow old encounters with friends and familiars to flow through her, to become again a living memory.